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Where is the Harm from Single-Father Homes?

 

A READER from Ireland writes:

Greetings from Ireland. I wish you and yours a Happy, Holy and Peaceful Christmas plus a Prosperous New Year.

You may find this gem of some interest.  Barbara Kay, of the Canadian Association for Equality, says that there are four MILLION single fathers raising children, be they widowers or simply “normal” single fathers in North America. She said that there is NO evidence whatsoever to link children raised in single-father homes to the type of disasters that the research shows regarding children raised in single-mother homes.

Laura writes:

Thank you.

She is terrific.

—- Comments —-

Perfesser Plum writes:

You may find this review of homes without fathers to be relevant.

When I present these findings in my education courses, the female undergrads who have taken sociology courses go into orbit. I make no effort to persuade them at least to question their beliefs, and whether they have been made useful idiots by their sociology instructors whose lack of knowledge and reason are inversely proportional to their arrogance, shrill voices that resemble a saw going through sheet metal, and cowardice.

Jesse Powell writes:

I watched the presentation by Barbara Kay linked above. I am not so ready to endorse what she has to say; I’m not an expert on child custody issues after a divorce. The Canadian Association for Equality is advocating for “equality” in custody matters; for a presumption of shared parenting. As well they campaign against discriminatory practices against men such as courts enforcing child support obligations against men but refusing to enforce against women the parental rights already granted to men by the courts.

I always get nervous when “equality” between the sexes is being advocated. In addition chivalry was unfavorably mentioned twice in the video. Below are the excerpts where chivalry is mentioned:

24:38 to 25:47

“Grant ascribes gender bias judgments to two different things coming together. One is the chivalric attitude we saw in the movie Kramer versus Kramer. You see this white knight to the rescue syndrome in aging judges who got their law degrees in the 1950s and 60s. They see parenting in the old paradigm of provider father and a nurturing domestic mother. They see women as vulnerable and in need of their protection so it’s like the state becomes the new father and takes care of the mother. On the other hand you have the younger judges; many of them are women now; schooled in feminist rubrics. In this paradigm women must have choices which they didn’t used to have. Work, mothering, combination, whatever they want. They must not be “controlled” by men who all, according to feminist belief, would control women if they could. In any case the result is the same; women’s “rights” to their children is deferred to by those trained in “social context issues.””

31:44 to 33:09

“The ideas come from a belief system, not from evidence but a belief system that assumes a mother’s presence is more important to a child than a father’s; that a child needs mothering more than fathering. In reality it is only in earliest infanthood that a mother’s presence may be understood to be crucial. The problem in family court is that judges often retain these anachronistic chivalric feelings about the mother baby bond and the tender years. They give great weight to the status quo. In their minds a mother is nursing a baby and they form a bond, that’s the status quo, as if a child is unable to make that leap to going back and forth between parents or be taken care of by another. Otherwise they’d never get used to a nanny would they? They refuse to recognize that, a) children can form flexible habits very quickly and easily and b) that children’s needs change as they grow. Maybe a one year old does not need a father all that much but actually a five year old needs a father a lot, a four year old needs a father a lot. And as children get older, arguably, as they get into their preadolescence and adolescence I would argue that they need fathers more than they need mothers.”

I am sure there is a bias in favor of women in the family courts in Canada as there is in the United States. The question is whether this is a bad thing; in particular whether this is a bad thing in the cultural context that actually exists in Canada and the United States. As I understand things in the United States there was a strong bias in favor of father custody in 1850. By 1950 there was a strong bias in favor of mother custody. After 1950 the presumption in favor of mother custody weakened though it is still relatively strong today. I would say in a healthy society that fathers and mothers invest in their children equally or approximately equally but fathers invest in their children in a different way than mothers do. A lot of the investment fathers make in children is “indirect” in that the father supports the mother so that the mother can more fully invest in the children.

Still, it must be recognized that Canada and the United States do not have healthy cultures; they instead have cultures in a state of current deterioration with a lot of built up damage from the past. In the process of family breakdown going on it does seem to me that men’s investment in children declines first; that men’s reduced investment in children has been greater than women’s reduced investment in children. This is probably where the bias against men comes from in the first place. In other words the bias in favor of women regarding child custody after a divorce may not be unreasonable given the cultural background of women being more invested in children than men. Women being more invested in children than men is pathological but it may also be the reality given the pathology that is already established in the culture.

What I’m most concerned about regarding Barbara Kay’s presentation is this fixation on “equality” and the idea of chivalry and feminism being allies in the cause of female supremacy. These are classic “men’s rights” formulations. I am not interested in “true equality” and I don’t even care that much about “fairness.” The goal is to reestablish patriarchy combined with chivalry. Yes, feminism imposes a lot of injustices against men but to me the priority is to reestablish a working social order; it is not so much to relieve or “right” the injustices currently being committed against men.

Laura writes:

Thank you.

I did not watch the entire video. So I appreciate your thoughtful evaluation of it.

Kevin M. writes:

Perfesser Plum writes: “I make no effort to persuade [my female students] at least to question their beliefs, and whether they have been made useful idiots by their sociology instructors whose lack of knowledge and reason are inversely proportional to their arrogance, shrill voices that resemble a saw going through sheet metal, and cowardice.”

I humbly bow to your breathtaking excoriation!

Kevin M. continues:

As always, Jesse Powell’s contributions are both highly articulate and thoughtful.

His remarks on chivalry and patriarchy are curious. I fully agree with his sentiments regarding patriarchy. It is a biological imperative. It will not be re-established; it will simply re-emerge in cultures that did not cast it aside. Those that did, such as ours, will die away with insufficient birth rates and be replaced with more successful cultures. There is no getting around patriarchy.

Chivalry, on the other hand, I hold to be very suspicious. Does it not promote in women the notions underpinning feminism? Even disregarding that, there is no putting the genie back into the bottle. Feminism may (I hope it does) go the way of the dodo, but it will always be in the history books and in the cultural record. Chivalry is dead and will not be revived. Personally, I don’t miss it. It may have served a function in the 1400s, but today it is rather laughable. In order for a society to re-institute it, you would first have to obliterate every last molecule of feminism and female supremacy. For the male to behave in a chivalrous manner, the female must first behave in a chivalrous manner. I propose, as step No. 1, the abolition of the 19th Amendment. Good luck with that.

Alissa writes:

Jesse Powell writes:

I would say in a healthy society that fathers and mothers invest in their children equally or approximately equally but fathers invest in their children in a different way than mothers do.

Agreed. This whole equality/fairness fixation is disturbing and disgusting. It seems that both feminists and men’s rights activists (plus homosexuals) despise womanhood (aka “weakness”) and are obsessed with power. Single father homes and single mother homes are equally harmful. Just in different ways. Children need both fathers and mothers. This whole “gender war” and “war between the sexes” is how liberals have interpreted the way God designed humans and it’s saddening.

Mr. Powell responds:

The “chivalry test” is my favorite tool for distinguishing between a Men’s Rights Activist and a supporter of patriarchy. If you are in favor of chivalry then you are in the pro-patriarchy camp; if you are opposed to chivalry then you are in the men’s rights camp. Very simple. No conditionality is allowed. Support for chivalry with conditions means being opposed to chivalry. The whole point of chivalry is that it is unconditional; that it is an intrinsic duty of the man. I’ve found very few otherwise legitimate supporters of patriarchy contradict this chivalry test. At the same time an MRA will object to my chivalry test very quickly and very forcefully. The chivalry test is easy to use and very reliable.

As far as patriarchy being a “biological imperative” I would agree in the sense that patriarchy is necessary for long term replacement level and above fertility. However by this same logic, chivalry is also a biological imperative as a society without chivalry would not be able to maintain its fertility either. Patriarchy without chivalry is male centric. Being male centric is just as bad as being female centric. To maintain fertility a society must be child centric. Patriarchy is child centric; this is why patriarchy works.

As for chivalry underpinning feminism; feminism as it is practiced in real life is a corrupted version of patriarchy. Patriarchy and feminism are not polar opposites. Patriarchy is the original social system and then feminism is a deviation from or a corruption of the original patriarchy. Feminism in practice is part diseased and part healthy; the healthy part being the remnant of the original patriarchy that still remains and the unhealthy part being the alterations or corruptions that feminism has newly introduced. Feminism certainly uses elements of chivalry for manipulative purposes or to gain an advantage but that is merely because feminism is not separated from patriarchy, it is instead joined with patriarchy. Chivalry makes feminism work better but that is because chivalry makes society overall work better. Withdrawing chivalry would simply make society worse.

As far as re-establishing patriarchy or “putting the genie back in the bottle” it needs to be remembered that patriarchy is more powerful than feminism; that health is more powerful than disease. Part of the United States is dying and part of the United States is being reborn; the part that is dying is much bigger than the part that is being reborn but in relative and absolute terms the part that is being reborn is growing.

Kevin M. said “It [patriarchy] will not be re-established; it will simply re-emerge in cultures that did not cast it aside. Those that did, such as ours, will die away with insufficient birth rates and be replaced with more successful cultures.”

Patriarchy is re-emerging within Western culture; it is certainly re-emerging among whites in the United States. The Judeo-Christian cultural system has already begun a patriarchal revival. Patriarchy is stronger at the fringes of this cultural system than it is at its center but patriarchy is re-emerging systemically in the Judeo-Christian cultural system as a whole.

Laura writes:

As far as patriarchy being a “biological imperative” I would agree in the sense that patriarchy is necessary for long term replacement level and above fertility. However by this same logic, chivalry is also a biological imperative as a society without chivalry would not be able to maintain its fertility either.

Very good.

John E. writes:

I think I am on board with Mr. Powell’s analysis of the video as it relates to chivalry and redressing wrongs against men. While a redressing of wrongs would be a good thing, and should happen as possible, it is an inferior goal to that of the reestablishment of an overall well-ordered society. Of course the two goals are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but often would be accomplished in tandem.

Regarding Mr. Powell’s “chivalry test,” I am curious whether I would pass, though I do hope at least to aspire to patriarchal ideals. In his first comment in this entry, he recognizes that the US and Canada do not have healthy societies. For this reason the cultural context may not allow for judicial rulings defaulting in favor of the father as a healthy society would likely have. I suggest that a similar dynamic exists for the practice of chivalry in our society. In a healthy society, men willingly believe in and practice chivalry. In our society, even if a man believes in chivalry, the normal practice of it is often personally detrimental if it is not outright impossible. Thus a man refrains in the workplace from showing physical deference that his chivalric instincts inform him would be properly shown to the female worker for fear of losing his job or facing a sexual harrassment suit. Thus a man puts up with women in the workplace in the first place when his chivalric instincts inform him that she most likely shouldn’t even be there.

I do understand that there are many men who are truly anti-chivalry, aiming for the gutter by insisting on their piece of the pie in the Great Equality-fest. But then I also suspect that many other men wouldn’t pass the “chivalry test” because what Mr. Powell would call disqualifying conditions, these men would call simply adapting to an unhealthy society so as simply to survive.

Laura writes:

There is a difference between categorical rejection of chivalry, approved by the men’s rights crowd, and incidental rejection of chivalry, as per John’s description. I believe Mr. Powell was referring only to the first.

Mr.  Powell writes:

When I talk about chivalry being unconditional I mean the principle and virtue of chivalry is applicable at all times under all circumstances. The order of the world is that men are to provide for and protect women; this being a worthy ideal to pursue and contribute to under all circumstances. What chivalry means in specific terms when applied to the real world is not so clear. An obvious example of chivalry that the current government is not abiding by is not allowing women to serve in the military. Since women serving in the military can be seen to be a violation of chivalry it should therefore be condemned regardless of the fact that in practice women are allowed to serve in the military.

Another example of an application of chivalry would be refusing to hire women for a dangerous job. In the corrupted feminist society that actually exists refusing to hire women for a particular dangerous job would land an employer in trouble based on anti-discrimination laws. In that situation, the employer may hire a woman to do a dangerous job in order to avoid a lawsuit even though the employer knows it is not right for women to be doing the dangerous job. In such a situation, I would not condemn the employer who hired the woman in order to avoid a lawsuit as the external punishment threatened by the government complicates the moral questions involved. There is a difference between the employer thinking to himself, “Women shouldn’t be working this dangerous job but now that women have ‘equality’ they should face the same risks as men,” and the employer thinking, “Women shouldn’t be working this dangerous job but if I refuse to hire women I might get sued and lose my company.” The first way of thinking is a men’s rights way of thinking where the virtue of chivalry is made conditional according to the social order where feminism is viewed as invalidating chivalry. The second way of thinking is consistent with patriarchy because the virtue of chivalry itself is never questioned; the only issue is the competing value of avoiding punishment that might override the value of chivalry in specific circumstances.

When I say that chivalry must be supported as a principle regardless of circumstances I mean that chivalry should be viewed as a virtue and a good regardless of circumstances. If there are competing factors that might make one avoid specific chivalrous acts or gestures then it is reasonable to take the other factors into account. The important point is that the chivalrous principle itself be viewed as a virtue and as men’s duty towards women unconditionally and regardless of circumstances.

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